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Yali Xu, Yong Fan, Weimin Fan, Jia Jing, Ke Xue, Xing Zhang, Bin Ye, Yingjie Ji, Yue Liu, and Zhide Ding

Asthenozoospermia is one of the leading causes of male infertility owing to a decline in sperm motility. Herein, we determined if there is a correlation between RNASET2 content on human spermatozoa and sperm motility in 205 semen samples from both asthenozoospermia patients and normozoospermia individuals. RNASET2 content was higher in sperm from asthenozoospermia patients than in normozoospermia individuals. On the other hand, its content was inversely correlated with sperm motility as well as progressive motility. Moreover, the inhibitory effect of RNASET2 on sperm motility was induced by incubating normozoospermic sperm with RNase T2 protein. Such treatment caused significant declines in intracellular spermatozoa PKA activity, PI3K activity and calcium level, which resulted in severely impaired sperm motility, and the sperm motility was largely rescued by cAMP supplementation. Finally, protein immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry identified proteins whose interactions with RNASET2 were associated with declines in human spermatozoa motility. AKAP4, a protein regulating PKA activity, coimmunoprecipated with RNASET2 and they colocalized with one another in the sperm tail, which might contribute to reduced sperm motility. Thus, RNASET2 may be a novel biomarker of asthenozoospermia. Increases in RNASET2 can interact with AKAP4 in human sperm tail and subsequently reduce sperm motility by suppressing PKA/PI3K/calcium signaling pathways.

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Zixi Chen, Yali Shan, Xingji You, Hang Gu, Chen Xu, Jing Long, and Xin Ni

The nucleotide binding and oligomerization domain-like receptor family pyrin domain-containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome plays a critical role in various inflammatory diseases. We sought to investigate the role of NLRP3 inflammasome in uterine activation for labor at term and preterm. We found that NLRP3 inflammasome was activated in the myometrium tissues obtained from the pregnant women undergoing labor at term (TL) compared with those not undergoing labor (TNL) at term. NLRP3 inflammasome was also activated in amnion and chorion-deciduas in TL and preterm labor (PTL) groups. In the mouse model, uterine NLRP3 inflammasome and nuclear factor kappaB (NF-κB) were activated toward term and during labor. Treatment of pregnant mice with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and RU38486 induced preterm birth (PTB) and also promoted uterine NLRP3 inflammasome and NF-κB activation. Treatment of pregnant mice with NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitor BAY11-7082 and MCC950 delayed the onset of labor and suppressed NLRP3 inflammasome and NF-κB activation in uterus. MCC950 postponed labor onset of the mice with LPS and RU38486 treatment and inhibited NLRP3 inflammasome activation in uterus. Our data provide the evidence that NLRP3 inflammasome is involved in uterine activation for labor onset in term and PTB in humans and mouse model.